Dogs become part of our families very quickly, and we want what is best for them. We want to ensure our dogs are happy, healthy, and well cared for. To keep your dog healthy, you need to ensure that they have enough exercise to manage its mobility and weight. You should also ensure that they are properly groomed. Also, you should make sure that your dog has the correct diet. Giving unsuitable food can cause long-term damage to your dog.
When deciding which food to feed your dog, it is important to ensure that it meets your pet’s needs and also your own. If at any time you are unsure of the health of your dog or you feel that you need more specialized advice, please seek the immediate attention of a vet.
Dry Food or Wet Food?
When you first decide to buy a dog, and that initial excitement takes over, you may run out to your local pet store. While there, you may look at all of the brightly colored toys or come to an agreement that your new dog will definitely spend every night in their new comfortable dog bed – do not worry, we all move them onto our bed within the first few months too.
Once you have bought all of the fun things for your dog, it is time to look at practicalities. This is where the pet store employee becomes invaluable. Getting their opinion regarding the practical elements of owning a dog can save you a lot of time and stress.
When shopping for pet food, it can be difficult to know where to start and to understand what is best for your dog. Most stores carry dog food, and you can get cans of meaty dog foods and dry dog biscuits or kibble too.
Dry food should make up the majority of your dog’s diet, as wetter foods can include a lot of water. Although it may help if your dog is thirsty, it does not add any nutritional benefit and can leave your dog feeling more hungry as the day progresses.
How Much is Too Much?
When feeding a dog, it is essential to feed them the correct amount of food each and every day. Over or under-feeding your dog can have disastrous long-term effects on the animal. If a dog becomes overweight, this can detrimentally impact its quality of life and can even shorten its lifespan.
An overweight dog can experience fatigue, joint pressures, low mood, and several more conditions. Similarly, a dog that is underweight will have its own problems.
When choosing food for your dog, portion control is as important for them as it is for humans. You will find, on all packs of dog food, nutritional information that will help you to decide the portion amount for your dog.
The portion size will be very specific to your dog. First, you will need to know your dog’s weight. Regular weight and health checks completed by your vet are important to continue to check your dog’s overall health. Once you have your dog’s weight, you will need to look at the activity level of your dog. If you have a dog that is exceptionally active, it will need a higher calorie intake than an older dog that spends a lot of time being still.
The packaging should also include a feeding guide for that brand of food. It is important that you follow this feeding guide exactly to ensure that your dog receives the correct volume of food.
What About Treats?
Most of us love treats. Most of us also see giving our dogs treats as a sign that we love them and a way to show that love to our dogs. However, treats can be dangerous for your dog’s health. As with food for humans, there is a need for moderation when giving dogs a treat.
It would help if you always gave your dog treats that are nutritional for them, no matter how much they are begging for scraps from your table. Treats that have been designed specifically for dogs will have been formulated to match what a dog’s diet should be.
However, even giving your dog treats made for them, you can still overfeed them if you offer too many treats. It is important that you do not use dog treats to reinforce negative behaviors. Using treats to entice your dog away from an area of your home or stop them from running away with items will only encourage them to repeat the behavior to receive a treat.
Revaluate Your Dog’s Food
It is recommended that you take stock of the amount of food that your dog is eating on a regular basis. We advise that you do this roughly every month. When evaluating the food portions you are feeding your dog. You should consider the level of exercise your dog is completing. If they had become more or less active than when you last checked their food portion amount, it is likely that you will need to adjust the amount they are eating.
If you notice that your dog is gaining or losing weight, you should complete another portion calculation to ensure your dog is eating the right amount. However, if you continue to notice weight changes and think that your dog’s food portion is correct, it is important to arrange a check-up to discuss the changes with a vet.
Checks You can Complete at Home
If you are unsure of whether or not your dog is eating enough at home, you can check its body condition score to give you a better idea. You can do this as part of your usual grooming time with your dog. When stroking your dog, you should always be able to feel its ribs in the chest area and should always see the stomach go in at the hip area.
You should be concerned about your dog being underweight if at any time you can feel the ribs, hips, or spine jutting through the skin. Similarly, if you can no longer clearly feel or see these features, your dog is most likely becoming overweight. In both instances, a dietary adjustment is advised.